Beer Buying Behaviour

The Path to Purchase

As business owners there are many things we all want to strategically do, but most come down to 5 basic needs: Drive Traffic; Increase Frequency/Loyalty; Grow Basket/Cheque; Differentiate vs. Your Competition; and Reduce Cost/Complexity.

These are all very basic needs and simple to set as goals, but in order to achieve them there is a core need to understand your customers and more specifically their path to purchase. In order to better understand this path, our team at Molson Coors conducted research and developed the Path to Purchase Framework. By understanding this framework and deconstructing the triggers and experiences across the path, you can start to acquire new customers and build loyalty to retain existing customers.


Path to Purchase – The Basics

The Path to Purchase in itself is a basic framework, consisting of three steps: (1) Pre-Purchase – Critical for Acquisition/Traffic; (2) Purchase – The Moment of Truth – Critical to Increasing Spend; and (3) Post-Purchase – Critical for Retention/Loyalty. Depending on the channel or venue, the path can be broken down further into additional decision triggers and moments of truth or experiences.


The framework, however, is just a starting point. The real magic happens when you build your understanding around each part of the path. This in-depth understanding enables more impactful programs and plans at each step of the journey.

Effective category management and brand assortment are prime enablers in the purchase phase that can help grow spending and improve your customer’s experience.

Truly getting insight into your customers’ decision drivers is the key to unlock your business opportunities and in the end your profit.


Key Insights/Opportunities along the Path to Purchase


Location is often the number one driver of store choice, but since we can’t move our pubs and stores around on a regular basis we need to look at other opportunities.

On-Premise: While reasonably priced food and drinks are top-stated reasons for selecting a venue, atmosphere and staff are extremely high on the list as well. Communicating that expected experience can get new people to consider your establishment.

Retail: Understanding the consumption habits of your shoppers can lead to opportunities to make sure your store meets their specific needs. 58% of beer shoppers plan on drinking their beer the same day they buy it (31% shortly after purchase). Knowing a store has beer cold enough for that quick consumption could be a key influencer in choice.


Purchase – The Moment of Truth

When it comes to purchasing beer, it is important to understand the level of pre-planning involved and the importance of brand in this category.


The point of purchase is where you can ensure the best experience for your shoppers, knowing that there are those who are preplanning and have brand loyalty, or those who are looking to explore. A proper assortment strategy, where you consider the role of core brands as well as slower-turning products, is important in both retail and on-premise channels. One in five retail shoppers say they would rather go to another store if the brand they wanted to buy on their last trip had been out of stock.



Quality and consistency of the experience and product is your key driver of return business. The perfect pour, clean draught lines and a great taste experience can go a long way in an on-premise venue. In retail, by managing your assortment based on sales you can ensure your products are always fresh and eliminate products that are past their shelf life.


The Evolution of the Path to Purchase – Impact of the Digital Age

Currently, the path to purchase is undergoing an evolution where channels are blurring. With the advent of digital and mobile devices the path to purchase is no longer a path, but is becoming more like a super highway. The advance of digital technology and social media means that information is so accessible that it is becoming the first place customers go to support their decisions across the path.

Regardless of this evolution, it is most important to realize that it is not two separate paths. You must consider that the path is integrated and omni-channel. The customer experience should be able to flow between channels seamlessly, meeting the same experiential expectations. The shopping, discovery and education experience should match or enhance your bricks and mortar. In on-premise, your online experience needs to match your in-venue experience, bringing it to life to drive that customer traffic.


The Path to Purchase – Where to Start?

At Molson Coors, we believe that everything starts with understanding your customers. This understanding can start with common sense, or it can involve research so you can leverage insight, brand assortment, category management capabilities, and many other tools or solutions that your suppliers may already have on hand.

The path to purchase itself is a powerful framework for you to leverage as a starting point for deeper understanding that can ultimately lead to business growth.